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 Post subject: Tropical Tent Spider.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:33 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Scratching around West Africa
Tropical Tent Spider (Cytophora citricola)

Some information of these spiders... 8)

Lifestyle Web bound spiders that never leave their web.

Description 8mm to 20mm in length. Abdomen is longer than it is wide. Colour varies from light grey to black. Often have white markings.

Distribution Found throughout the sub region except arid areas.
Widespread throughout the world.

Webs Web bound often found in communal clumps of webs.
Make their webs in low vegetation, particularly aloes, cycads and other spiky plants and trees.
The mesh in their webs are a distinctly diamond shaped just like a fishing net.
A tent like sheet can be found in the center of their web.
This tent like sheet is constructed using numerous supporting lines. The center of the sheet is pulled up to form a tent.

The spider rests underneath the sheet and waits for prey.
Prey falls hits the knock down threads, falls onto the sheet (tent) and the spider pulls the prey through the web and delivers a bite.

Venom This timid spider is harmless to humans.

Notes Juveniles often occur in groups.
Many individuals may be found sharing a suitable plant or clump of plants.
These spiders live side by side with each other but not communal in the true sense of the word.
This aggregating together is thought to increase the amount of prey caught.
These aggregations of webs provide a suitable place for kleptoparasites.

Egg sacs are flat on one side and rounded on another (just like a small slightly elongated tennis ball that has been cut in half).
These egg sacs are deposited above the center of the sheet in amongst the supporting threads.
Egg sacs may be disguised using prey remains.

When threatened these spiders vibrate the web to blur their outline.
One of the few spiders you can identify down to species level.
This is because there is only one species in Southern Africa! :dance:

Jonathan Leeming

 Post subject: Spider: Tropical Tent-web
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:34 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Netherlands
In July on way from Lower Sabie to Crocodile River we saw hundreds of insect nests in the bush, covered in early morning dew and glistening in the sunlight,

The form resembled inverted parachutes or jelly fish but the thread was very fine making up thousands of beautiful conjoined small diamond forms in the central part which seemed to contain a single brown seed of a plant or possibly a pupa.

I saw no caterpillars or spiders

Can any on identify this nest please

 Post subject: Re: identify this insect or spider web please
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
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Location: Pretoria, RSA
You probably saw the webs of the Tropical Tent-web spider (Cyrtophora citricola), but there are other spiders who make similar nests. They are quite common in KNP, and especially obvious in the early mornings after dew.

As you mentioned the web resembles an inverted parachute. The bottom part has the function of catching the insects, which falls in to it after being knocked down by the strands going upwards. The insect is then attacked by the spider and dragged down below the web to be devoured.

The structure you refer to in the center is not a seed or a pupae, but rather the collection of the bodies of previous victims. It is also where the spider hide and keeps its eggs, so that you and other potential threats, would not easily spot it.

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 Post subject: Re: identify this insect or spider web please
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:34 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Netherlands
Thank you for the rapid reply and interesting information.

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